Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Balloons Over Broadway

Title: Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
Author: Melissa Sweet   
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet  
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children Publication Date: October 2011   
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book  
Summary: Have you ever wondered who came up with the idea for the giant, floating balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? With incredible  collage illustrations, Melissa Sweet tells you the story of the puppeteer who's behind these icons of the Macy's Parade.
What I Think: I was excited just looking at the cover of this book! There is something so amazing about the balloons in the Macy's Parade. Growing up, my mom always made sure we watched every parade that was on TV on a holiday. I especially loved any of the Disney parades (and maybe there's part of my obsession love of everything Disney). I remember watching the balloons and then see how little the people were who were holding onto them. And there were so many of them! It always fascinated me to see any clips on TV that showed how the balloons were filled. I love this book and how it captures the magic of Tony Sarg and his idea.

Melissa Sweet has blended the media she uses so well. It was a joy to look at every page. Balloons Over Broadway was so engaging visually but the text also tells Sarg's story so that I could read it and share the story with Peanut, my four-year-old. After we read, we had to go online and check what kind of balloons would be in the parade this year. Peanut got more and more excited every time I read the name of another character he loved. We usually watch the parades on TV during the holidays but I don't think he remembers. This year we'll definitely be watching since we have read the book and are excited to look for some of his favorite characters. I love how non-fiction books lead to more non-fiction reading. It's so hard not to read a non-fiction book and then not want to know more about the time period or the people or the events.

One of my goals this year was to read more nonfiction because I usually gravitate towards fiction for my fun reading (besides professional books). I have enjoyed reading more non-fiction books and all the knowledge I have learned! I feel so much smarter now. It's amazing how much easier it is to make text connections when you read more and this was true for me as I read more non-fiction. Before reading this book I had read The Great and Only Barnum: The Tremendous, Stupendous Life of Showman P.T. Barnum by Candace Fleming which tells the story of P.T. Barnum of the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus. I was able to make so many connections with P.T. Barnum and Tony Sarg. I was also thinking a lot about The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Even though it's an adult non-fiction novel, I found myself comparing the time periods and what I knew about that period of time.

I am so excited about this book and I love how it is a Thanksgiving book that's focuses on another aspect of Thanksgiving other than the actual feast. I am so glad to have this to read every year with kids and believe everyone should have this in their collection!
Read Together: Pre-K - 12   
Read Alone: 3 - 12   
Read With: Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson, I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie by Alison Jackson, Sky Boys: How They Build The Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson, She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head by Kathryn Lasky 
Snatch of Text:  
"Many of the people working at
Macy's were immigrants, and as
the holidays approached, they
missed their own holiday traditions
of music and dancing in the streets.
Macy's agreed to put on a parade
for their employees, and they hired
Tony to help.

Tony too was an immigrant, so he
loved the idea of creating a parade
based on street carnivals from all 
over the world. He made costumes
and built horse-drawn floats, and
Macy's even arranged to bring in
bears, elephants, and camels from
the Central Park Zoo."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Asking Questions, Visualizing, Making Connections  
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Descriptive
Writing Prompts: Write about how your family celebrates Thanksgiving or another favorite holiday. Describe what you hear, see, feel, taste, smell!
Topics Covered: Holidays - Thanksgiving, History, Parades, Imagination, Ingenuity, Hard-Work

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